Ducks look to end losing streaks.
It's been a few weeks since the Oregon volleyball and soccer teams have picked up a victory, and with the seasons quickly coming to an end for both, those losing streaks have meant different things to each program.
For the 20th-ranked Duck volleyball team, which hosts No. 6 USC at McArthur Court at 7 p.m. today and No. 9 UCLA at 7 p.m. Friday, their losses have done little to affect their national standing and chances at postseason play.
The Duck soccer team, however, is in a much more urgent situation. They end the regular season this weekend with games at Pape Field against No. 5 Stanford at 7 p.m. Friday and No. 19 California at 11 a.m. Sunday, and nothing short of a sweep will be needed to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
"I think so," Oregon coach Tara Erickson said. "I don't know how a tie could work but we have to go in with the idea that we need two wins to turn heads."
Oregon goes into the game against Stanford 8-7-3 overall and 1-3-3 in the Pac-10. The Ducks haven't won a game since beating Arizona State 1-0 on Oct. 19. They are 0-1-3 since then, with a loss to Washington and ties against Washington State, Arizona and Oregon State.
Oregon hasn't beaten the Cardinal in 10 games since 1997, and is 1-8-1 against the Golden Bears in that same time.
"We'll have to play our very best games," Erickson said. "And that's a challenge to these kids ... to go out on a winning note and keep the program moving in the right direction."
The volleyball team hasn't fared much better in the past few weeks.
The Ducks have lost three straight - to Arizona State, No. 5 Stanford and No. 8 Cal - since beating Arizona on Oct. 25 and have just five matches remaining in the regular season.
But even though Oregon (16-9, 4-8) has been victorious just twice since going 14-2 through September, coach Jim Moore has not pushed the panic button, nor does he consider either match this weekend to be must-win scenarios for his team to make its second-straight NCAA Tournament.
Oregon has an RPI in the mid-30s, Moore said, and seven of the Ducks' past eight losses have come to teams ranked in the top 10.
"The reality is, if we want to get to the NCAA Tournament, we have to beat Oregon State (Nov. 16) and Washington State (Nov. 21)," Moore said. "Will losing this week push us out of the tournament? I don't think so.
"If our RPI was dropping into the 40s or 50s I'd be worried. But our conference is tough enough."
In USC and UCLA, the Ducks will be playing top-10 teams for the third and fourth straight match and the eighth and ninth time overall this season.
"To be in the top five of the Pac-10 means you have to be in the top 10 nationally," said Moore, whose team is in seventh place in the conference. "Everybody came here to play in the Pac-10 and to play best. I don't think we have any fear, and we feel we can beat everybody else. But it's a difficult process."
One that doesn't get any easier this week.
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|Title Annotation:||Sports; Oregon's volleyball team is still in good shape, but the soccer team might need to sweep its final games|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Nov 8, 2007|
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